Jump to: SynonymsCommon NamesEconomic ImportanceDistributional RangeReferencesOther Web ReferencesImages

Taxon: Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.

Genus: Opuntia
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Opuntieae
Nomen number: 25840
Place of publication: Gard. dict. ed. 8: Opuntia no. 2. 1768
Link to protologue: https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/51493855
Comment: an implicit reference to a Linnaean basionym may be assumed fide Shenzhen ICN Art 41.3, Ex. 5
Name Verified on: 28-Aug-2002 by ARS Systematic Botanists.
Accessions: 196 (123 active, 99 available) in National Plant Germplasm System

Autonyms (not in current use), synonyms and invalid designations:

(≡ homotypic synonym, = heterotypic synonym, - autonym, I invalid designation)

Common names:

Economic Importance:

  • Animal food: fodder (fide Succ Pl Res 6:130; Cact Fam)
  • CITES Appendix II:
  • Environmental: ornamental; ornamental
  • Fuels:
  • Human food: fruit (fide Agrociencia 39:395-396. 2005) fruit; vegetable (as vegetable)
  • Invertebrate food: dye-containing insects (cochineals used as a source of carmine dye fide ; Cact Fam)
  • Medicines: folklore; folklore
  • Weed:

Distributional Range:

    Cultivated (widely cult.)


    • MACARONESIA: Cape Verde, Portugal, [Madeira Islands] Spain [Canarias]
    • NORTHERN AFRICA: Libya, Morocco, Tunisia
    • NORTHEAST TROPICAL AFRICA: Eritrea, Ethiopia
    • SOUTHERN AFRICA: South Africa

    • ARABIAN PENINSULA: Saudi Arabia, Yemen
    • WESTERN ASIA: Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey
    • CHINA: China (s.)

    • AUSTRALIA: Australia

    • SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE: Greece, Italy
    • SOUTHWESTERN EUROPE: France (incl. Corsica), Spain (incl. Baleares)

    Northern America
    • SOUTHWESTERN U.S.A.: United States [Arizona, California]
    • Mexico

    • NORTH-CENTRAL PACIFIC: United States [Hawaii]

    Southern America
    • CARIBBEAN: Cuba, Guadeloupe, Hispaniola, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, [Trinidad] United States [Puerto Rico]
    • CENTRAL AMERICA: Nicaragua
    • BRAZIL: Brazil
    • WESTERN SOUTH AMERICA: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru
    • SOUTHERN SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina, Paraguay

    Other (probable origin Mexico)


  1. Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & M. T. Strong. 2012. Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 98
  2. Aldén, B., S. Ryman, & M. Hjertson. 2012. Svensk Kulturväxtdatabas, SKUD (Swedish Cultivated and Utility Plants Database; online resource) URL: www.skud.info
  3. Anderson, E. F. 2001. The cactus family 499.
  4. Angely, J. A. 1970-. Flora analítica e fitográfica do Estado de São Paulo.
  5. Benson, L. 1982. The cacti of the United States and Canada 932.
  6. Brako, L. & J. L. Zarucchi. 1993. Catalogue of the flowering plants and gymnosperms of Peru. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 45
  7. Bravo-Hollis, H. & H. Sánchez-Mejorada. 1978. Las Cactáceas de México, vol. 1 - 1978, vols. 2,3 - 1991 320.
  8. Brutsch, M. O. & H. G. Zimmermann. 1993. The prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica [Cactaceae]) in South Africa: Utilization of the naturalized weed, and of the cultivated plants. Econ. Bot. 47:154-162.
  9. CITES. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices I, II and III (on-line resource).
  10. Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas
  11. Cufodontis, G. 1953-1972. Enumeratio plantarum aethiopiae: Spermatophyta.
  12. Davis, P. H., ed. 1965-1988. Flora of Turkey and the east Aegean islands.
  13. Duke, J. A. et al. 2002. CRC Handbook of medicinal herbs
  14. Erhardt, W. et al. 2008. Der große Zander: Enzyklopädie der Pflanzennamen
  15. Felker, P. et al. 2002. A comparison of the fruit parameters of 12 Opuntia clones grown in Argentina and the United States. J. Arid Environm. 52:361-370.
  16. Felker, P. et al. 2005. Comparison of Opuntia ficus indica varieties of Mexican and Argentine origin for fruit yield and quality in Argentina. J. Arid Environm. 60:405-422.
  17. Felker, P. et al. 2010. Fruit characters among apomictics and sexual progeny of a cross of the Texas native Opuntia lindheimerii (1250) with a commercial fruit type Opuntia ficus-indica (1281). J. Profess. Assoc. Cactus Developm. 12:48-66.
  18. Figueiredo, E. & G. F. Smith. 2008. Plants of Angola. Strelitzia 22: 1-279.
  19. FNA Editorial Committee. 1993-. Flora of North America.
  20. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2010. Ecocrop (on-line resource). URL: http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropListDetails?code=&relation=beginsWith&name=Opuntia+ficus-indica&quantity=1 target='_blank'
  21. Forzza, R. C. et al., coord. Lista de espécies da flora do Brasil (on-line resource).
  22. George, A. S., ed. 1980-. Flora of Australia.
  23. Germishuizen, G. & N. L. Meyer, eds. 2003. Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14
  24. Greuter, W. et al., eds. 2000. International code of botanical nomenclature (Saint Louis Code) Art. 32.4, Ex. 7.
  25. Griffith, M. P. 2004. The origins of an important cactus crop, Opuntia ficus-indica (Cactaceae): new molecular evidence. Amer. J. Bot. 91:1915-1921.
  26. Hackett, C. & J. Carolane. 1982. Edible Horticultural Crops Academic Press.
  27. Hansen, A. & P. Sunding. 1993. Flora of Macaronesia: checklist of vascular plants, ed. 4. Sommerfeltia vol. 17.
  28. Hedberg, I. & S. Edwards. 1989-. Flora of Ethiopia Note: Eritrea added in 2000
  29. Henderson, L. 2001. Alien weeds and invasive plants: a complete guide to declared weeds and invaders in South Africa. Plant Protection Research Institute, Handbook 12
  30. Henderson, M. et al. 1987. Declared weeds and alien invader plants in South Africa. Botanical Research Institute, bulletin 413
  31. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER): plant threats to Pacific ecosystems (on-line resource).
  32. Instituto de Botánica Darwinion. 2008. Flora del Conosur. Catálogo de las plantas vasculares.
  33. IPGRI. New World Fruits Database (on-line resource).
  34. Irish, M. 2001. The ornamental prickly pear industry in the southwestern United States. Florida Entomol. 84:484.
  35. Jørgensen, P. M. & S. León-Yánez, eds. 1999. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 75
  36. Kiesling, R. 1999. Origen, domesticación y distribución de Opuntia ficus-indica. J. Profess. Assoc. Cactus Developm. 3:50-59.
  37. Kunkel, G. 1984. Plants for human consumption
  38. Labra, M. et al. 2003. Genetic relationships in Opuntia Mill. genus (Cactaceae) detected by molecular marker. Pl. Sci. (Elsevier) 165:1129-1136.
  39. Le Floc'h, E. & L. Boulos. 2008. Flore de Tunisie: catalogue synonymique commenté
  40. León, B. 1995. pers. comm. Note: re. Spanish common names
  41. Leuenberger, B. E. 1993. Interpretation and typification of Cactus opuntia L., Opuntia vulgaris Mill., and O. humifusa (Rafin.) Rafin. (Cactaceae). Taxon 42:426.
  42. Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third.
  43. Magness, J. R. et al. 1971. Food and feed crops of the United States. IR Bull. 1
  44. Majure, L. C. et al. 2012. Phylogeny of Opuntia s.s. (Cactaceae): Clade delineation, geographic origins, and reticulate evolution. Amer. J. Bot. 99:847-864. Note: a Mexican octoploid apparentlty derived from human-mediated hybridization, and also early dispersed to South America
  45. Markle, G. M. et al., eds. 1998. Food and feed crops of the United States, ed. 2
  46. McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker. 2000. Herbs of commerce, ed. 2 American Herbal Products Association, Silver Spring, Maryland.
  47. Meikle, R. D. 1977-1985. Flora of Cyprus.
  48. Miller, A. G. & T. A. Cope. 1996-. Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra.
  49. Mouterde, P. 1966-. Nouvelle flore du Liban et de la Syrie.
  50. Munz, P. A. & D. D. Keck. 1959. A California flora.
  51. Personal Care Products Council. INCI
  52. Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource).
  53. Rehm, S. 1994. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants
  54. Reyes-Agüero, J. A. et al. 2005. Systematic notes and a detailed description of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (Cactaceae). Agrociencia (Montecillo) 39:395-408.
  55. Samah, S. et al. 2016. Genetic diversity, genotype discrimination, and population structure of Mexican Opuntia sp., determined by SSR markers. Pl. Molec. Biol. Reporter 34:146-159. Note: ISSN: 0735-9640 (Print) 1572-9818 (Online)
  56. Shreve, F. & I. L. Wiggins. 1964. Vegetation and flora of the Sonoran desert.
  57. Standley, P. C. & J. A. Steyermark. 1946-1976. Flora of Guatemala.
  58. Standley, P. C. 1937-1939. Flora of Costa Rica.
  59. Stevens, W. D. et al., eds. 2001. Flora de Nicaragua. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85(1-3).
  60. Stintzing, F. C. et al. 2005. Color, betalain pattern, and antioxidant properties of cactus pear (Opuntia spp.) clones. J. Agric. Food Chem. 53:442-451.
  61. Taylor, N. & D. Zappi. 2004. Cacti of eastern Brazil
  62. Taylor, N. P. et al. 2002. Realignment and revision of the Opuntioideae of Eastern Brazil. Succ. Pl. Res. 6:130.
  63. Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. 1952-. Flora of tropical East Africa.
  64. Tutin, T. G. et al., eds. 1964-1980. Flora europaea.
  65. Vigueras G., A. L. & L. Portillo. 2001. Uses of Opuntia species and the potential impact of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Mexico. Florida Entomol. 84:494.
  66. Wagner, W. L. et al. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i
  67. Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds
  68. Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994-. Flora of China (English edition).

Check other web resources for Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. :

  • Flora Europaea: Database of European Plants (ESFEDS)
  • Flora of North America: Collaborative Floristic Effort of North American Botanists
  • PLANTS: USDA-NRCS Database of Plants of the United States and its Territories
  • BONAP North American Plant Atlas of the Biota of North America Program:
  • Flora del Conosur: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Conosur
  • Flora of China: Online version from Harvard University
  • AVH: Australia's Virtual Herbarium
  • ABRS: Australian Biological Resources Study Flora of Australia online
  • SIBIS: South African National Biodiversity Institute's (SANBI) Integrated Biodiversity System
  • New World Fruits Database: Online database from Bioversity International
  • TROPICOS: Nomenclatural and Specimen Database of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Mansfeld: Mansfeld's World Databas of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
  • ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • AGRICOLA: Article Citation Database or NAL Catalog of USDA's National Agricultural Library
  • Entrez: NCBI's search engine for PubMed citations, GenBank sequences, etc.
  • PubAg: USDA's National Agricultural Library database of full-text journal articles and citations on the agricultural sciences.


Cite as: USDA, Agricultural Research Service, National Plant Germplasm System. 2020. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Taxonomy).
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=25840. Accessed 14 August 2020.